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8/21/09

Prefab House Kit: Systems, Passive Solar and SIPs


The past two weeks have been overwhelming, hence the silence, and aside from meetings, we haven't anything new to show regarding our own SIPs prefab house kit. [Now, about the *other* prefab house kits being built... (claps hands over mouth) Ahem, more on these later! : ) ]

Instead, we have spent time over the past weekends exploring Richmond's James River, which we never had access to until we bought a vintage Boston Whaler. It's amazing what a little river access can do for a family! We can now hook up the boat and in 15 minutes be at the river, watching bald eagles, blue heron, turtles and fish with our children.

Any-hoo, today, the prefab architect of the net zero house kit casa ti, David Day, came to visit!

Our original plan was to visit an artist's studio he built with structural insulated panels (SIP) but we digressed and instead sat outside watching the children play.... enjoyed the day and company of each other while discussing Woodstock documentaries, green living, and off grid net zero systems.

Let's talk about green building and living. We were discussing what our particular family had chosen for systems for the off grid net zero house. Everyone's needs will be different. So you might have the same house kit, but vastly different choices might be made for each prefab home.

Because the passive solar house kit design combined with the use of energy-efficient structural insulated panels helps keep cool summer night air in, and the clerestory windows allow the hot air to escape, AND with the knowledge that last week, in a spate of 100 degree days, when Handsome Husband left work in Richmond and drove to the land to meet with the contractor at 3ish (without the opportunity to 1. let in the night air, then 2. close the windows in the morning to keep that cool air in, nor 3. let the hot air out via clerestory windows, in the 4. hottest heat of the day), yet inside the prefab house kit, because of the structural insulated panels and passive design, it was 85 degrees on a SUPER hot day...
Well, we will not install air conditioning.
So that's one less big thing to power, therefore allowing us to have a smaller system.

We will also not power things like... oh... hair dryers.
(I mean really.)
We will not be powering a washer. (See hand-turned washer below...)
A dryer. (Hello, line dried clothes...)
Kitchen utensils. Television.
And with each choice, our systems requirements are reduced further.

We will not power a vacuum cleaner. Because we have chosen to build a small footprint home, we can easily sweep it with a broom to keep it tidy.

Don't worry, we will be powering music... I mean, that's NECESSARY! But we can also think of creative ways to get our music, films, and culture without drawing from our main power supply.

So... we don't just think about how to build green, how to be more energy-efficient... we also think about reducing power consumption, and re-evaluating what you really "need."

P.s. If you'd like to see it for yourself, don't forget our Open House September. 26th!

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